Examining a #DayInTheLife Through Social Media

profile picLet’s face it: Social media is the future. Hell, it’s the present. Classic American institutions like the U.S. Postal Service and print newspapers are slowly being rendered irrelevant because of the rapidly-improving online word of communication and journalism.

My generation was raised with MySpace, Facebook and YouTube and are leading the charge for programs like Twitter, Instagram and Tout.

Because I consider myself somewhat of a wizard on the above platforms, I decided to try a fun experiment yesterday with the help of my Tout app (the one program I’m least familiar with — it’s basically a service that allows 15 second video clips in a feed-style interface) and Twitter.

Now, I just got into Tout recently, and only have about 50 followers to my name. So the experiment in itself probably didn’t have much of a reach, but it did get decent, if limited, feedback.

And even if it went completely ignored all day, I had fun doing it. I would love to see a social media-friendly celebrity or athlete (I’m looking at you, Shaq!) do something like this, if only just to demonstrate the incredible scope of communicative abilities all this new technology offers. Survivor host Jeff Probst actually did a similar series on Tout recently!

In the 20 or so video updates I posted yesterday, I learned that my average day is far more eventful than I originally believed. It’s promising to see that even on the laziest of Sunday’s (and one that I slept until noon on, no less) can still be exceptionally productive in multiple facets of my life.

But that’s enough of my blabber. This “experiment” was merely to document a full day in the life of an average social media-savvy human. I think it’s far more interesting to see something like this than “reality shows” like Keeping Up With the Kardashians.

So check out all the videos HERE and keep up with the Jamblinman’s instead!

Oh, and if you couldn’t tell…I kinda like baseball. Here is a montage/inspirational rendering of Sunday, March 3rd, 2013 through the eyes and iPhone of me:

Humans Are Screwed Thanks to Guys Like Me

How to operate Facebook:

1. Log-in.

2. Make sure to update your status, so everyone knows you are alive.

3. No matter how well you know the people in the upper right corner of your home feed, make sure to wish them a Happy Birthday! God forbid you run into one of them at the grocery store and they throw a kumquat at you for forgetting they turned 26 last December.

4. Check. Your. Notifications. Do NOT let somebody’s GIF of a random dude shimmy-ing and accompanying message comparing you and her/him to a hypothetical situation in which said dude was inspired to shimmy, go unnoticed.

5. CRITICAL: Scroll down the news feed at least until it reloads once – any further, you are creeping. But any less, and you clearly don’t give a shit about your friend’s pictures.

6. Click “Like” on any pictures or links that make you smirk. If you are feeling especially peppy, type “LOL” into the comment box! It will make those people feel loved.

How to Operate Twitter:

1. Log-in.

2. Scroll down on the timeline. Anything interesting, funny, or controversial? The answer is yes, unless you are super lame and don’t follow anyone that fits in the above categories.

3. Retweet anything and everything that is funny, regardless of how offensive it is to entire cultural groups.

4. Click “favorite” on any of your real-life friends’ tweets, to signify that yes, you do still love them. And yes, you have nothing worthwhile to tweet in return so this gold star will have to hold you over as an emblem of my affection for your magnificent phone-thumbing abilities.

5. Check your mentions. If anyone is still arguing with you about last night’s high school curling match on ESPN2, shut…them…down. Something like, “DUDE, check the stats before you talk to me – Goldstein is leading the STATE in adjusted brush technique this year! #Dumbass” should do the trick!

6. When addressing your adoring public of 250 followers (most of whom are porn bots anyway), make sure to start your farewell tweet for the night with “Well, Tweeps,” and then say something absurdly profound and original like “tomorrow’s another day. I’m gonna get thru this! #SelfConfidence #Potential #HopesNDreams”.

How to Use Instagram:

1. Log-in.

2. If you think it’s artsy or funny, it’s probably not. Take a picture anyway.

3. Make sure to use one of those filters that makes it look like the sun is about to bump into the Earth, creating a weird glare on the top of the picture.

4. You absolutely MUST hashtag “#nofilter” at the end of your message, even though you used a filter and it looks exactly the same.

5. Speaking of the message, it better have some kind of title to go with it, as if you just captured a work of art in your iPhone lens.

6. Share to Twitter and Facebook. You wouldn’t want the people stupid enough to not yet Instagram their lives to miss your pictures.

How to Use Foursquare:

1. Don’t. It’s really freakin’ creepy. (Says the guy who uses it daily)

How to Interpret this blog:

I’ll admit it. I’m part of the problem. There is no getting around it, no excuses to be made. Does that mean I’ll stop? Probably not.

My pupils can dilate into hashtags, my hands can turn into big, clunky thumbs-up signs, my brain can start processing images with an array of glittery filters…I just don’t care. I’ll probably still check my robotic self in at whichever cafe I happen to be perusing FourSquare in, though I may not even realize I’m at a cafe until the GPS tells me so, because my little Twitter-eyed, Facebook-handed, Instagram-brained self is a zombie. Not one of those cool zombies either. Just an annoying, nerdy, sometimes hip, apathetic zombie who only preys on flesh when his iPhone battery dies (every eight hours, I might add).

Yes, I’m completely, totally, unequivocally hooked into social media. I can think of any number of reasons why, but I’ll just go with the basics: it’s fun, it’s easy, it’s interactive, and it’s a totally free platform for personal expression.

I’m not going to unplug, either. I like being hooked in to people around the world. I like being able to turn on my phone and start a three-day debate with a random guy in Columbus over whether high or low socks look better on a baseball uniform (for the record, the answer is high socks – feel free to tweet me if you disagree).

I like being able to write a blog that normally only my parents and myself (at least thirteen times, just to make sure my number of reads doesn’t look too pathetic) would read, and then posting to Reddit and suddenly having a couple hundred strangers appreciating and/or making fun of my ideas and passions.

And I especially like being inspired by other people’s ideas or pictures or thoughts. Now that I’ve effectively pinned my opinion on social media to your brain and tumbled through all the ways I love it, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty here:

Humans are screwed thanks to guys like me.

Seriously. Social Media is a dangerous weapon, and I’m openly abusing it. The difference is, I know how to use it. I haven’t lost my ability to interact face-to-face with a living, breathing person. I’ve formed relationships via conversation and physical touch. I’ve felt the real, stinging emotions that humans feel – not the radiating glow of a computer screen slowly digging into your skin and infecting your bones.

People need to realize that social media is what it is. It’s media. A social form, yes. But it is media. It’s not real, tangible contact.

So don’t take it so seriously. If we aren’t friends on Facebook, that’s not a reflection of my opinion on you as a person. Hell, if we ARE friends on Facebook, it doesn’t mean we are actually going to meet up and chat about politics and the stock market and the new secretary’s affinity for filing her nails at her desk (that sounds awful anyway – note to self, don’t ever talk about aforementioned topics).

If I unfollow you on Twitter, it means I don’t want to read your tweets. It doesn’t mean I just subliminally told you to fuck off. Once I’ve followed you, I have not made a legally binding vow to keep reading your angry diatribes about life, love and the pursuit of retweets.

Let’s just put it this way: I have 300 followers on Twitter. Most of them are NOT my real friends. They are people who liked something I said at one point or another. Maybe they felt obligated to follow me because I followed them. Whatever the case, if you have 30,000 followers, you are not 100 times cooler than me.

It means you Tweet 100 times better than I do. Congrats!

Just please refer to the above user guidelines for social media…and then completely disregard them.

My friends are the ones I can call on Skype from thousands of miles away and hold a conversation for hours with. Or the people I can meet up with on a random Wednesday night for beer and wings.

The people who don’t care if I like their status, favorite their tweets and comment on their check-ins. Please use social media responsibly. And don’t let it take over the human race – we are all WAY too interesting to let that happen.

End, rant. Goodnight #Tweeps!

Random, Awkward, Shower-Inspired Epiphanies

I’ve been meaning to make this blog a weekly thang – a departure from the one-track mind I tend to publicly display via Facebook, Tweet, and Jam Shot. Because believe it or not, I’m not only…always…thinking about sports.

Yes, it fills a significant portion of my lobes. But I promise there is more going on in this head of mine. I’ve been told I can write, so I’m here to do so about topics that matter in the grand scheme of things.

You know. Dreams. Emotions. Travel. Charity. Drunken samplings of gnarly crustacean delicacies.

Just one problem. Writer’s block – the bane of my existence. And by “writer’s block,” I mean laziness, non-motivation, finger cramps, whatever personal problem you want to pathetically disguise behind a clichéd veil.

It’s no excuse. A writer who has “writer’s block” is like a singer who claims to have suddenly gone mute. Or a hitter in a horrific slump (I get ONE sports analogy…come on!). The only way to break out is to keep on writing, singing, swinging and throwing.

For some reason, I’ve been able to keep writing my daily-but-turned-to-weekly sports blog, and my assigned Bleacher Report articles, and my contributions to Three Up, Three Down (the next great baseball podcast, co-host and co-creator…at least that’s what I imagine the business cards will say when we hit it big), and even a piece here or there for Lasorda’s Lair.

Yet between all that and the shameless self promotion that just occurred (I’m really hoping there’s an opening at a major magazine and the Editor happened to peruse through that previous paragraph), I haven’t been able to just sit down and hammer out some thoughts on this digital piece of parchment…

…until NOW. And I really do have a couple of thoughts I want to etch into the blogosphere tonight.

While I was showering away a more-painful-than-usual two-mile run earlier tonight (I swear the wind was against me both ways…), I got into one of those awkward “why am I thinking deeply about life and such while scrubbing my armpit with a soapy loofah” moods.

Whatever the reason, I realized how much I miss college. Which led to me reflecting on the last five years of my life. Since the day I decided to go to Washington State at age 18 1/2, to today…almost 23 1/2…just, wow.

I mean, how else do I describe it? Do I sacrifice how I really felt to make it read better? Or keep as is. As it came to me when the memories started flooding in. I literally, audibly, muttered the word, “wow.”

See, I consider myself a decently lazy person. To the point that I’ve spent no less than 2,500 hours over the last five years watching a full game or match of baseball or football or basketball or soccer. Factor in 12,750 hours of sleeping and approximately 5,000 hours working over that same time span, I’ve spent nearly 50 percent of my 43,830 hours of life since age 18 1/2 doing things that require no more than basic physical functioning.

This doesn’t even include the infinite hours I’ve spent Tweeting, Facebooking, YouTube-ing, Sporcle-ing, Stumbling, and any other form of procrastination ending with “ing” that you can think of.

I’ve spent 5,000 hours answering phones, writing emails, asking for donations, taking payments, making trip reservations, washing dishes, serving food, tutoring fellow students, teaching baseball. Nearly 13,000 hours dreaming of whatever my crazy brain dreams of while sprawled across beds, futons, hammocks, hardwood floors, rocks, car seats and trampolines. And 2,500 hours cheering, screaming, analyzing, moping, stressing and moaning about any combination of the Dodgers, A’s, 49ers and Cougars.

You’d think I’d have time for nothing else. And sometimes it seems like I truly don’t. But when I stopped to consider – I was floored at the realization that despite half of my time being devoted to sleeping to recharge for work, to work for money, to pay for activities that make me tired again…I have done so many things without really trying.

Since turning 18 1/2, I’ve received two college degrees. I’ve been hired by the fourth-largest sports website in America. I’ve quit my job at the fourth-largest sports website in America. I’ve been named one of the Top 50 baseball fans in the country, out of 22,000 hopefuls.

I’ve traveled the Mediterranean by sea, Europe and Africa by foot, and America by car. I’ve visited New Orleans, and Boston, and Canada, and Mexico, and St. Louis, and Orlando, and Breckenridge, and Las Vegas, and Chicago.

I’ve snowboarded at Whistler, and sun bathed in Puerto Vallarta, and blacked out on Bourbon Street, and skinny dipped in Barcelona, and hiked the coastline in Italy, and witnessed evening prayer during Ramadan at a Moroccan mosque.

I’ve watched movies that made me laugh. I’ve read books that made me cry. I’ve written stories and poems made of fiction based on truth. And memoirs and papers of fact based on fiction. I’ve written things that made me feel good, and made other people cry.

My work has been published. Multiple times.

I’ve learned to like sushi, and wine, and traveling by train. I’ve even tried raw oysters and fried calamari (see, gnarly crustaceans!).

I’ve helped raise a puppy. I’ve sung Whitney Houston in front of 500 people at a karaoke bar. I’ve milked cows. Hell, I’ve even grown a beard.

I’ve ridden a camel. I’ve run a sub-five minute mile. I’ve gone shirtless in 23-degree weather. I’ve watched the sun rise over the Atlantic Ocean, and not from land. I’ve survived a plane ride through bolts of lightning. I’ve mastered the most terrifying, exhilarating river rafting trip on this continent.

I’ve succeeded grandly. I’ve failed miserably.

I’ve changed people’s lives. I’ve had my life changed.

And most importantly, I’ve physically distanced myself from my family, yet never been closer to them. And in my movements, I’ve met hundreds of people from around the country and around the world and formed friendships and partnerships and romances that will never die.

All these things have come about from the sheer will of curiosity. A poster in my Humanities classroom caught my eye. A friend’s texted suggestion piqued my interest. A deep love for baseball forced me to make a video on a whim.

I’ve been to a hundred new places and met a hundred new people and learned a hundred new things and eaten a hundred new foods in that short, five-year span.

And it’s all been done on a tight budget. I can’t remember the last time the number in my bank account made me feel secure. I’ve had the wonderful support of my generous, hard-working parents and a lot of loving family and friends help get me to these places. To meet these people I’ve met and learn these things I’ve learned.

So. I’m not here to preach. Or throw morals at you. Or brag about my successes and find sympathy for my failings.

I’m here to realize that if a somewhat lazy, semi-penniless, totally average guy who literally spends half his life either staring at a TV, a work-supplied computer, or the back of his eyelids can do ALL THOSE THINGS in five years…

So can you. And I hope you do. Go meet people. Go see places. Go learn things. Go eat food. And drink drinks. As our elders say, these are the best years of our lives.

And now that I realize those former hippies were right all along, I’m going to embrace it. I’m going to try to make my life as awesome and interesting and memorable as the last five years have been. And this time it won’t take a random concoction of curiosity, luck and happenstance.

In five years, since turning 18 1/2, I’ve seen and done some incredible things. I call some unbelievable people my friends. People I never would have known existed, in places I couldn’t pronounce the names of, doing things I couldn’t dream of.

And if I can actually set myself down that path instead of just stumbling onto it from here on out…I may just knock out two or three full bucket lists by the time my next half decade passes.

Check back in with me in June of 2017. I’ll be 28 1/2 then. Five years richer, five years smarter and five years happier.

Hopefully, the writer’s block has subsided by then.